Portable hybrids are all the rage nowadays, with their ability to transform into a laptop from a tablet, giving the user more flexibility and functionality. With 2-in-1s getting better each year, it can be quite difficult to choose the best one for your business needs. Currently, the Surface Pro 4 from Microsoft and the iPad Pro 9.7 from Apple are the top two hybrids available in the market, so these two should be your primary choices.
The Surface Pro 4 looks more like a laptop, with HWD measurements of 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches and weighing in at 786g (but it can weigh 20 grams less if you get the model with a slower Intel Core M version). The iPad Pro 9.7 is more of a super-sized iPad Air 2, at 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 HWD and a slim and light body that weighs just under a pound. Both look beautiful, with Apple’s baby looking sleek and elegant and Microsoft’s treasure boasting a smart and stylish design. Plus features of the Surface Pro 4 are a kickstand that can be set at a wide range of angles and a magnetized section where you can conveniently store the Surface Pen along one of its shorted edges on its magnesium body. And it has a MiniDisplay port, a USB 3.0 port, and a microSD card reader, so you can plug in a keyboard, mouse, or external storage devices if needed. The iPad Pro 9.7 comes with only a Lightning port. So when it comes to design features required for laptop functions, Microsoft’s 2-in-1 is the winner.
The 12.3-inch, 2,738 x 1824 screen of the Surface Pro 4 gives you a larger and sharper display compared to Apple’s 9.7 hybrid which has a 9.7-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 Retina display. Microsoft’s hybrid also has a high contrast display with less glare, thank to its PixelSense technology.
When it comes to power, the iPad Pro 9.7 has Apple’s latest and fastest mobile processor (an A9X chip and M9X co-processor), making it super fast and even on par with an early 2015 Macbook Air model. However, the Surface Pro 4 still has a bit of an edge, with its ability to support up to 16GB of RAM and an entry level processor of Intel Core m3 that can be upgraded all the way to Core i7.
Apple’s 2-in-1 runs on iOS, allowing you to enjoy all the mobile apps and games that can be used with an iPad. It is also compatible with the Apple Pencil and a suite of creative iOS apps, making it ideal for designers. On the other hand, those who need to do mobile computing work for business will prefer Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 as it can run full desktop apps.
Apple may want to create the impression that the iPad Pro is the best hybrid out there. But based on the specs and needs of a business 2-in-1 computer, the Surface Pro 4 from Microsoft should be declared the winner—for now.